16 August 2011

George Orwell, Lionel Britton, and 'The Proletarian Writer'

For a number of years now the transcript of 'The Proletarian Writer' –Desmond Hawkins's Home Service radio interview with George Orwell on 6 December 1940 – has been available in Peter Davison's A Patriot After All: 1940–1941, but I've only just noticed it online. As I've mentioned this in several posts before, I won't dwell on it again, except to repeat that it's very interesting how affected Orwell was by Lionel Britton's Hunger and Love: almost ten years after publication he's still talking about it, even calling it an 'exceptional book'. It seems hardly surprising, then, to find echoes of Britton in – for example – Keep the Aspidistra Flying and Coming Up for Air.

The transcript is here.

7 comments:

The Plashing Vole said...

Thanks, you've just cost me another tenner in book purchases!

Dr Tony Shaw said...

Pleased to oblige!

Snatch51 said...

Reading the transcript of the interview with Orwell in 1940 is to be struck very forcibly by how impossible it would be to hear such a broadcast today. A magazine interview, possibly; but on the air...well, the producers would simply say "Come on you guys, cut to the chase! Give us some sex or scandal, or move over to the next item!"

Dr Tony Shaw said...

You're probably right, snatch, and I imagine TV must be the same if not more so, although I can't say as I don't have a television. I don't listen to much radio either, but I think Mark Lawson, for instance, tends to dumb things down a little. However, I've heard some really good interviews that Philip Dodd - an English teacher of mine from way back in his days at Leicester University before he got his doctorate - has given on Radio 3. Does he still work there or has he moved on?

Snatch51 said...

'fraid I don't listen to Radio 3, Doc, so can't comment on that!

Dr Tony Shaw said...

Mmmm. Is that completely coherent with what you said before about radio and presentday impossibility, then? :-)

Snatch51 said...

You make a good point. Perhaps Radio 3 which I've never listened to is the sort of channel that the Home Service used to be, and if I'd listened to it I would know!